FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
POLL: Following Dan River Spill, NC Voters Want Leaders to Act On Coal Ash Now
Charlotte, NC -- Following Duke Energy’s Dan River coal ash spill last month, a new poll shows North Carolina voters across the political spectrum are concerned about future spills and strongly support new protections to prevent them. According to a new poll of 600 registered voters released by the Sierra Club and conducted by Hart Research Associates, North Carolinians also overwhelmingly prefer political candidates who favor these strong regulations over candidates who do not.
These results come on the heels of another recent poll in West Virginia that showed voters there also strongly support policies and politicians that protect clean air and water. These results stand in stark contrast to outdated assumptions that people in coal-producing states oppose any restrictions on the coal industry while only supporting candidates who are beholden to the fossil fuel industry.
“North Carolinians are sick of paying the cost for Duke Energy’s failures and the Dan River spill is the last straw. Clear majorities across the aisle want policy and politicians who will hold Duke accountable and act to protect our water and prevent another coal ash spill,” said Kelly Martin, Senior Campaign Representative, for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in North Carolina.
Some highlights from the poll:
70% of voters polled say they would be more likely to support a candidate who “ favors strong regulations and enforcement...to prevent future spills,” including majorities of Democrats (87%), independents (69%) and Republicans (55%). Just 17% would be more likely to support a candidate who says that having more regulations and enforcement will hurt jobs and the state’s economy.
70% of respondents say Duke Energy is at least “mostly” to blame for the Dan River coal ash spill.
Specific proposals related to the regulation of coal ash received strong support across the political spectrum, with at least 60% of voters strongly supporting each of three initiatives.
57% of those polled say “stronger regulation and enforcement” could have prevented this spill. 69% say other serious incidents like this will occur unless some action is taken.
90% of respondents said that Duke Energy should clean up all coal ash sites in the state, including the Dan River spill, and 88% feel coal ash should be stored away from water in specially lined landfills.
83% of North Carolina voters polled say coal ash should be regulated as a hazardous substance, including super majorities of Democrats (91%), independents (85%) and Republicans (75%). Just 7% disagree.
“You can throw the coal industry’s conventional wisdom out the window. As we saw in West Virginia, this North Carolina coal spill has been a wake up call for voters about the need to protect our water from toxic coal pollution.This poll is yet another indication that Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in coal-dependent states want leaders who will stand up to big coal companies and enact common-sense initiatives to protect our air, our water, and our families from toxic coal ash and pollution,” said Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.1 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.